POSTED: May 18 2019 22:25:53. By Keith Long - Gilgryst Cup Final Woes For Beechy First Team

With their Premier Division place for next season already confirmed Beechfield United First Team had high hopes of picking up some winners silverware when they met Rochdale Sacred Heart in the final of the Gilgryst Cup on Saturday 11th April 2019.

But things didn't go according to plan and following a slightly below-par display Beechy's players collected runners-up medals after United suffered a 3-0 defeat. The final was played at the home ground of Hyde United FC and a 4G Astroturf Pitch provided a perfect surface for the teams to produce some high quality football. Sacred Heart kicked-off the final and their No6 conceded a free kick following a reckless challenge within the opening fifteen seconds. Chris Ferris via a well timed tackle won the ball in midfield but a promising move came to an abrupt end when Louis Duff had strayed into an offside position. United's confident looking opponents knocked the ball around the pitch with real accuracy but Beechy worked hard as they strived to get a foothold in the match. A good piece of defending from Luke Johnston allowed him to send a great forward pass onto Jordan Jones-Waite who went on a solo run but a Sacred Heart defender blatantly fouled Jordan and was shown a yellow card.

Free kicks galore were awarded to both teams during the opening ten minutes and Marcus Belcher made a vital headed clearance as two opponents made an attempt to get on the end of a dead ball situation. The Sacred Heart No5 was a key figure in their back four when United created a few half chances following moves involving their midfield trio Man of the Match Ethan Birds, Matthew McNally and Chris Ferris. Faced with a tricky opponent was Beechy left back Carl Ravenscroft who was forced into extra defensive duties and therefore didn't get many opportunities to overlap down the left flank. Overall Sacred Heart looked a lot more comfortable when in possession forcing Beechy to show much more composure in all areas of the pitch. Beechy keeper Robert Harrison was forced into action again when he made a smart agile save but on the half hour mark he was left stranded when the Sacred Heart No8 took a free kick and curled the ball over United's defensive wall to give his team the lead.

Continuing to enjoy more of the ball Sacred Heart kept the pressure on Beechy who going forward had rarely troubled their opponents keeper in the first half and United's players were probably relieved to hear the whistle for half time. The match in the second half retained a lively pace and straight from the restart Sacred Heart forced a corner and Beechy were soon having to do some serious defending. But creating a positive counter-attack United had a chance to draw level when Jamie Sinnott and Jordan Jones-Waite worked the ball onto Matthew McNally who side footed his effort wide. Some superb defending from Mike Rogerson, Marcus Belcher, Luke Johnston and Carl Ravenscroft continually denied their opponents another goal until the 62nd minute. Luke Johnston was victim of a poor decision by the referee who pointed to the penalty-spot after he wrongly judged that the Beechy defender had fouled the Sacred Heart No10 in the area. Following the resulting spot-kick United found themselves trailing 2-0 and once again as they sought a way back into the final Beechy struggled to keep the ball for long periods.

But United had a chance to pull a goal back after Matthew McNally and Ethan Birds combined to win a corner but a volley by Marcus Belcher went straight at the Sacred Hearts keeper. A double substitution for United saw Manager Steven Erskine and Kurtis Lee replace Louis Duff and Ethan Birds but Sacred Heart continued to dictate the pace of the contest and put added pressure on Beechy's overworked back four who at times were stretched to the limit. Beechy did have the ball in the back of the Sacred Heart net but the goal was disallowed due to Kurtis Lee being caught in an offside position. Any hopes United had of a possible comeback never materialised and at the end of another well worked counter-attack Sacred Heart added their third goal in the 91st minute.

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